As I watch the final rounds of the US Open, I had no idea that it would be such an emotional few days for me. I am proud that I am connected with Bethpage State Park through my family, but I was also impressed with the spectators… For example, in Friday’s round, a player (I forgot his name) hit his ball into the fairway bunker on the 18th. He then had to take an unplayable in the bunker. He then hit his ball barely out of the bunker and could not find it. He finally did find it, then chopped it out on the fairway, then he eventually two putt for something like a 7. The crowd was cheering him on all the way! When he putted out, the crowd cheered like he had made a birdie! He was not too happy, but someone yelled “Hey buddy, you are in the US Open! I would LOVE to be in your shoes…smile!” …. and he did… I have a few stories that I might as well add here. They have jogged my memory while I was here. Many thanks goes to my siblings who helped me with some insights into the stories I have told. Grandpa’s golf equipment – My grandfather had a lot of old equipment in his garage when he retired… the old cylinder hand mowers and hole diggers. My younger brother Michael, who was 7 or 8 at the time, thought it would be a great idea to take the hole digger and make 18 holes in our backyard. My father was not to happy about that! 🙂 Hole in One – I do also remember my father taking myself and my older brother Danny to the golf course. My first time out on the course, I was only 11 or 12 at the time, but we played the Red Course and my father had a hole in one! I did not think it was a big deal at the time.. boy, was I wrong! 🙂 Practicing on the Blue – I also remember the starter letting me practice out on the first hole of the Blue Course. I took the last tee time and just practiced hitting shots from 50 yards away. They were very nice to me.. Final thougts… At Bethpage, whether I was sitting on a grassy hillside, a grandstand, or just walking the course, I kept thinking how this place for one week was the golf mecca of the world. The course, though wet, was in magnificent shape — you can see all shades of green from the tees to the putting greens. Bethpage will be forever linked to a USGA major championship – and I am proud to say that my grandfather had a big part in helping build these courses that people will remember and that they can come and play any time they want… you do not have to play the Black – there are four other course to choose from, and they are all great. The renovations that they did (I think $5 million) went into revamping all the courses. So go on out to Bethpage State Park if you get the chance and enjoy a wonderful experience! I know I will next time I go home to Bethpage….
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